Patriots Gameday: Can Mac Jones win back the hearts and faith of Foxborough?

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones will be on trial in front of the home fans at Gillette Stadium Sunday afternoon against the New Orleans Saints.

New England Patriots v Dallas Cowboys
New England Patriots v Dallas Cowboys / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Will Sunday’s showdown against the New Orleans Saints start the path of redemption for New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones or will it be the beginning of the end of his career in Foxborough?

After a dismal display of quarterbacking against the Dallas Cowboys, Jones has a challenge ahead of him that starts with his mental toughness.  He not only has to show the faithful fans at Gillette Stadium that can run an NFL offense, but he also has to show his coach Bill Belichick that he can be a successful NFL quarterback.  He also needs to prove it to himself.

Two interceptions, a lost fumble for a touchdown, Mac Jones deserved to be the scapegoat in a 38-3 embarrassment at the hands of the Cowboys.  It wasn’t just that he made mistakes, it was the way he made the mistakes. 

Mac Jones has something to prove to New England Patriots fans (and former players)

The frustrating part of the Jones experiment in New England is that he has shown what he can do when everything is right around him.  When he has playmakers and an offensive line that can protect, the offense is more than decent.  The problem is when there is any negative play on offense, things fall completely apart on drives.  That is where leadership comes in, that is where Mac Jones must prove he can help his offense overcome those negative plays.  He must believe in his players, and they have to believe in him.

Yes, the players are saying they have full confidence in Jones, but do they really?

Former Patriots players have been speaking out and serving up their input about who and what they believe Jones is as a New England Patriots quarterback.  As with most fans and critics, players like Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski are used to Tom Brady. But everyone is not Brady, certainly not Mac Jones.  But that doesn’t mean he can’t still carve his own path to greatness.

First though, he must shake the ghosts of all his defeats and the echoes of boos that will surface at Gillette Stadium as soon as that first offensive drive stalls.  No matter what Belichick says or doesn’t say, this could be it for Jones in a Patriots’ uniform. Gronkowski certainly believes that is the fate Mac jones is facing.

During an appearance on the “Up & Adams Show” on Wednesday, the former Patriots tight end summed it up: three strikes and Jones is out.

“(Jones) got benched last year and Bailey Zappe went in. He just got benched (Sunday) when they were playing the Cowboys, and that’s strike two,” Gronkowski said during the appearance, via “So, if he gets benched again and he makes another mistake that they’ve been going over throughout the week … He’s going to get benched a third time, and that will be strike three and he will officially be out as the quarterback of the New England Patriots.”

In fairness to Mac Jones, he didn’t have the likes of Edelman and Gronk getting open for him.  That is where Belichick has really failed the third-year quarterback.  No shade to DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne, Hunter Henry and Mike Gesicki, but those players are more equipped to succeed with a quarterback like Brady.  Until and if Jones reaches that level, he needs elite talent around him.

In fairness to Belichick, Brady didn’t have those elite players either during his first few seasons in the NFL, he was a game manager who didn’t make the mistakes that lost games.  The problem is its 2023 and the game has changed.  Belichick and Jones have to figure out what would make him a successful quarterback in today’s NFL. 

It starts Week 5 against the Saints in front of the Foxborough faithful.

It’s time for Mac Jones turn it up.

It’s game day.